So, can I?

It depends on two things: when you want to cancel and, more importantly, why you want to cancel.

Okay, let’s say I signed my lease but it’s not in my possession yet?

You’re gold in this circumstance, legally that is. In practice, this is usually easier said than done. Dealerships are not exactly known for their honesty, so in this circumstance, they’ll often lie and tell you they are unable to cancel your lease because they want to close the deal. You might even have to get a lawyer in this circumstance so they know you’re serious and know your rights. Gotta love dealers.

What if I signed and also have possession of the car?

You’re out of luck, my friend. A lot of people have the misconception that there is some sort of grace period to cancel your lease even after you’ve taken possession of it. But alas, that is only a misconception. California, however, does offer a “return option” as part of your lease if you want to opt for that. If you’re in one of the 49 other states in this beautiful country, no such luck.

But, as previously mentioned, very few things are actually legitimate when you lease through a dealer, so you could potentially beg your way out of it knowing that the dealer is under absolutely no legal obligation to cancel your lease. Also, the dealer usually gives the paperwork to the bank anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days, so act fast.

What if I’ve had my car for a couple months and can’t afford my lease anymore?

That’s unfortunate. While you definitely won’t be able to cancel your lease, you could transfer your lease instead and get someone who wants a shorter lease term to take over your leasing contract and pay off the remaining months of your lease and assume liability.

And what if I want to finance my car instead of lease it midway through my lease?

While this virtually makes absolutely no sense, you’ll always find a couple of people who want to change their lease to a loan in the middle of their lease. There are literally no benefits to doing this. Even if you’re overmileage, you’re better off just buying out your car at the end of your lease by a wide margin.

Okay, fine. But what if I’m overmileage and want to cancel my lease to buy out my car early?

Again, bad idea. In all honestly, you end up paying for overmileage no matter which way you look at it. The reason overmileage is an extra cost at all is because you are driving the car more and therefore making the car depreciate in value. So, either you’ll pay for the overmileage at the end of your leasing contract, or you’ll pay for it when you try to sell/trade in your car because it’s valued at less.


Don’t sign anything you’re not sure about. Dealers are required to go through leasing contracts with you so don’t be afraid to ask questions and take your time. The ball is in your court.

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